On Loving God
by St. Bernard of Clairvaux
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What is love? In his text On
Loving God, St. Bernard surveys the four types of love
that Christians experience as they grow in their
relationship with God: loving one's self, selfish love,
loving God as God, and loving one's self in God. St.
Bernard reminds us that not only did God give us life, but He gave us
Himself. For indeed, "God deserves to be loved very much, yea,
boundlessly, because He loved us first, He infinite and we nothing,
loved us, miserable sinners, with a love so great and so free." St.
Bernard reminds us that we are indebted to God for his love and His
sacrifice. Not only should we love God because it is what He deserves,
but also because loving God does not go without reward. Loving God is to
our advantage. The Lord rewards those who love Him with the blessed
state of the heavenly Fatherland, where sorrow and sadness cannot enter.
St. Bernard's medieval prose is poetic and full of clever imagery. His
work is as beautiful as it is knowledgeable.
CCEL Staff Writer